Can Your Smile Make You Look Younger?

When you think about looking younger, dermal fillers and botox probably spring to mind, or maybe you would consider a facelift? Often one of the first areas you will notice skin ageing and new lines and wrinkles are around the eyes. YES, those dreaded crows feet! Most of us probably think we look at the eyes more than any other area of the face. After all, if you’re talking to someone, you’re looking in their eyes, right? NO! In fact, forget everything you think you know about the importance of eye contact.

Renowned psychologists Julia Minson, assistant professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and Frances Chen, assistant professor at the University of British Columbia, published their paper, In the Eye of the Beholder: Eye Contact Increases Resistance to Persuasion, in the journal Psychological Science. They conducted various scientific studies to analyse where our eyes naturally look when we look at another person’s face. After analysing the results, Julia Minson revealed,  “Your eyes naturally go back and forth between the eyes and the mouth”.

When it comes to your smile, discoloured teeth are immediately ageing, but there is much more to teeth than how white they are! Over time your teeth will also change shape and your bite can move, plus teeth get chipped or ground down. Many of us will lose one or two teeth at some point in our lives and it is a combination of all of these things that can make you look a lot older than you feel.

How Does Your Face Age?

Fundamentally it all comes down to how your face changes as you age and the role your teeth, bite and jaw play. Teeth provide support to the lower face and stimulate the jaw bone. Without the support of all of your teeth, your jaw will shrink; this can also happen when teeth are misaligned, as this can lead to misalignment of the jaw.

When this happens, your chin projects forward and the lower portion of your face shrinks. This loss of tooth structure can result from wear and tear,  a misaligned bite, and tooth loss, which can easily add 10 to 15 years to your age.

Four Cosmetic Dental Procedures That Can Make You Look Younger

Depending on the severity of your dental issues, you might require a combination of cosmetic dental treatments. We spoke to Gareth Edwards, Principle Dentist and Co-Owner at Smile Stories, a cosmetic dental clinic in Bournemouth.

“Your smile is an essential element of your face and is often the first place someone’s eyes will be drawn to. Not only do white, straight teeth help you to look years younger, replacing missing teeth and aligning your bite can dramatically improve the structure of your jaw and provide an instant lift to the cheeks and lips.”

Here are the four key procedures recommended by the team of cosmetic dentists and dental practitioners at Smile Stories that can help take years off.

1.     Yellow and Stained Teeth

Whiter teeth are automatically associated with youth and yellow or stained teeth instantly make you look older. Even if you have good oral hygiene, certain foods, drinks, and especially smoking will gradually discolour your teeth. Luckily this is a simple dental issue with a fast fix. You can use at-home teeth whitening products or opt for professional cosmetic dentistry.

Teeth whitening products sold online may be appealing, they are less expensive, and best of all, you don’t need to show anyone your teeth. The problem is stains on teeth are not removed first. It’s a bit like putting moisturiser over makeup — to get the most out of your moisturiser, you need to take your makeup off first.

For gleaming white teeth, whitening with bleach just won’t cut it. First, you need to remove surface stains. This is why you need to go to a cosmetic dentist that provides hygienist stain removal before they use laser teeth whitening with bleach. There is no doubt that white teeth make you look a lot younger. Just take a look at the photo of a mum with her children below.

2.     Chipped Teeth Repair

The shape of your teeth can be quickly restored with composite bonding. This is a product cosmetic dentists use to build up short teeth and reshape chipped and misshapen teeth. You might have heard of white fillings? Well, composite bonding uses the same substance, but it is applied to the outside of the teeth.

Once it has hardened, it is carefully shaped to transform your teeth in just one dental appointment. The results last around five years, but this option is a lot less expensive than veneers and your natural teeth are not damaged by the process.

3.     Invisalign Clear Aligners

When your bite is misaligned, or your teeth are crowded and crooked, they are harder to keep clean. Stains can build up between the teeth and your lower facial structure is altered, which will become more noticeable the older you get.

If you haven’t thought about straightening your teeth because you don’t want fixed braces, Invisalign clear aligners offer an alternative. Unlike braces, you are in complete control and can remove your retainers when you eat, drink, brush and floss your teeth. Almost invisible, they provide a discreet way to straighten teeth and align the jaw without the discomfort of traditional fixed braces. Invisalign clear aligners can also move teeth outward, which will widen a smile and help lift your cheeks. It’s almost like a mini facelift!

Success for Invisalign treatment in clinical trials is high and “ongoing research and development has allowed treatment of more complex malocclusions.” This extraordinary success has led to numerous new types of clear aligners that can be purchased for “at-home treatment” without needing an in-person dental appointment. Invisalign alternatives, such as Smile Direct and Clear Correct aligners, may be cheaper but won’t be able to move teeth that tip forward or back.

For the correction of more severe orthodontic issues, research into Invisalign indicates that monitoring the movement of your teeth and bite by a certified dentist can significantly enhance results.

This is partly due to Invisalign’s two decades of innovation which has allowed them to develop their revolutionary SmartForce attachments. During your dental appointment, your Invisalign dentist can add attachments to Invisalign clear aligners to add extra pressure to individual teeth that are not moving in line with your other teeth.  Preferred by cosmetic dentists, Invisalign is the only company that provides separate attachments for superior teeth straightening results.

4.     Teeth Implants

A few missing teeth in the back of your mouth may not seem too much of a concern as you naturally focus on your six top and bottom teeth as they are most apparent when you smile. However, missing teeth in the back of your mouth affect the structure of your jaw.

Primarily this is caused by loss of jaw bone which occurs due to a lack of stimulation from the tooth root. This bone erosion reduces facial support and can cause lips and cheeks to collapse inwards. Often this results in excessive wrinkles in the lower part of the face and changes the shape of the jaw, which will almost always make you look a lot older.

Dental implants replace the natural tooth root with a titanium screw put into the jaw bone to hold the ceramic crown to provide the new tooth. The jaw bone responds to the screw similarly to a natural tooth root. The bone is stimulated, preventing bone loss, which helps to maintain the integrity of facial support to the lips and cheeks. Even better, dental implants look, feel, and function in the same way as natural teeth and can last a lifetime.

How Do I Find the Best Cosmetic Dentist?

It seemed natural to conclude with some advice on finding the best cosmetic dentist. There are various checks you can make, including looking for Google reviews and at cosmetic dental clinics’ social media accounts.

When you find a dentist you think may have the required experience and training, the next step is to check their name on the General Dental Council (GDC) register. Any conditions on their registration due to an investigation into fitness to practice will be displayed with their details.

You can also check who they hold their indemnity insurance with. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask how many patients have experienced complications in the past 12 months following the procedure you are considering.

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